Basel – Juan Martin del Potro became the first man from Argentina to win 300 career matches as he marched into the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors on Friday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.
The top seed and defending champion crushed the French qualifier in 78 minutes and will next face a second French opponent after Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Germany's Daniel Brands 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“I played a good match,” said the South American, who sent down 11 aces and never faced a break point.
“I was solid from the baseline and served well.
“I've been working a lot of my serve,” added the Tokyo tournament champion and Shanghai finalist from earlier this month.
“I'm playing better and better with each match.
“I did have a double-fault so I still have a little work to do. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and I'll have to lift my level even more.”
Del Potro, already qualified for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London starting in 10 days, owns a record of 46 wins and 13 losses in 2013, winning three titles.
Unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil reached his third semi-final of the season -- and the third of his career -- as he played after treatment for a stiff neck which had him doubting if he could take to the court.
But the number 40 managed with physiotherapy and painkillers, beating Croatian Ivan Dodig 7-6 (13/11), 6-4.
“I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to play at all,” said the Canadian.
“It was still bothering me on every single shot, especially the serve and forehand. But the trainer told me I couldn't make it worse so I gave everything I had.”
Pospisil will face the winner from the showcase quarter-final between five-time champion Roger Federer and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov whose shotmaking and style closely resemble that of the Swiss star.
Federer stands provisional seventh in the points race to London and needs to keep winning to build both points and confidence after one of the worst seasons of his career.
His lone title so far came in the summer in Halle, Germany.
He also had his struggles in the first set of the second round, when he needed a comeback to eliminate Denis Istomin to reach the quarters. – AFP